Hibernation must have ended for local newts as my husband spotted two common (smooth) newts (Triturus vulgaris/Lissotriton vulgaris) in the pond last Sunday. One seemed larger than the other so I am hoping both sexes are present and eggs might be laid.
I didn't manage to get a photo but here is one taken by my son in May 2008 of the same species in terrestrial form found on the patio.
A wren (I have only seen one) is still roosting in amongst the remains of dead plants and compost in a hanging basket on the patio and I have been getting more regular daytime sightings of this species recently. I am pleased that at least one wren in the locality survived the freezing winter conditions.
I spotted some rabbits last night feeding on a traffic roundabout near Birmingham Airport - not really unusual because there were several more feeding on nearby grass verges and there is open countryside only a few hundred yards away. However, it reminded me of sightings I had many times last year at dusk of wild rabbits (up to 4 or 5) feeding again on a traffic roundabout near The Fort Shopping Park in Birmingham. This was more unusual as the nearest habitat likely to support a wild rabbit population was a few miles away. Perhaps this illustrates the role roadside verges can play as wildlife corridors in the dispersal of some species.
I have visited a fairly local countryside area, which has large prairie type fields, a couple of times in recent weeks where I have seen hares in the past in the hope of seeing some hares indulging in courtship behaviour. No sign of hares yet but I will try and visit at least once more this month.
I am reading a delightful book at the moment (a Christmas present from a friend) called "A Countrywoman's Journal - the sketchbooks of a passionate naturalist" by Margaret Shaw. The journals (in a facsimile format) cover the years 1926 - 1928 and contain details of the wildlife she encountered in her garden and on her travels charmingly illustrated with birds, butterflies, bees and wildflowers. I do like reading nature diaries and for a while Margaret Shaw was lucky enough to live in the house of Gilbert White - author of my all time favourite diary "The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne".
I'm also reading Kate Atkinson's "Started Early, Took my Dog" recently out in paperback. I really enjoy her books starting with the first "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" through to her latest series featuring Jackson Brodie a former police detective. Her books are very unputdownable!